Silver Spring Networks, a flush smart metering company, is one of Google's first investments in its newly-created venture fund. The company develops networking boards for power meters that monitor and curb electricity consumption. Silver Spring's boards also monitor gas and water consumption, and help utilities provide smart meter demand and response information for customers.
So far, Silver Spring has gathered nearly $150 million in funds, and even had to turn away investment cash recently. That makes it a relatively safe bet for Google, especially since the smart grid company already has 500,000 homes in its network and a contract with Pacific Gas and Electric for millions of smart meters in Northern California.
Google won't disclose the size of its investment in Silver Spring, but it is probably sizable considering Google's own entrance into the smart grid game with PowerMeter.
This isn't Google's first investment in renewable energy projects, though it is the first to be funded through Google Ventures. The company previously invested in Enhanced Geothermal Systems technology, solar thermal company eSolar, electric car maker Aptera, and a wind company called Makani Power.
None of these investments, though, are as surefire as Silver Spring. By investing in a company like Silver Spring, that got in on the industry's ground floor, Google ensures its own future in the smart metering world.